When DigitasLBi released its internal docuseries "In the Wild" last March—the same time its website was revamped—it was meant to celebrate the hidden talents of staffers worldwide. But it also had an unexpected result: Job applications, says DigitasLBI, spiked by nearly 50 percent after the films were put online.
One of the first of the dozen mini-documentaries—all of which were produced, shot and edited by Digitas staffers—featured Detroit-based Sarah Ingram, who is an art director as well as a world champion stone skipper. Another focused on London-based Head of Operations Dee Miller, who is also a roller derby referee (with the nickname Cherry Fury in the rink).
And their stories, as well as others, seemingly got talent interested in working at the agency. Job applications jumped 47 percent from March-June 2016 to the same period in 2017, according to the Publicis Groupe agency.
As a result, Digitas has created a second batch of "In the Wild" films, but with a twist. This year's series, says Matthew Jacobson, executive VP and global executive design director at the agency, are one- to two-minute films also produced, shot and edited by Digitas talent, but with the employee's talent integrated into the editing and storytelling. For example, one of the first new episodes features Johanna Facada, media technology analyst and a hip-hop dancer from DigitasLBi Boston who, rather than staring straight into a camera, dances in multiple outfits with a voiceover telling her story. (See the film below.)
So far, Digitas has two episodes set to go for 2018, including Facada's. The other tells the story of Jenny Awasano, group creative director and animal rescuer from DigitasLBi New York.
Jacobson says the agency is always identifying new subjects for the series and is currently looking over some candidates, such as a hula dancer in San Francisco and a fancy cake baker in Chicago. Sometimes the Digitas "In the Wild" team discovers an employee's talent on its own, and other times staffers share their "secret" skills.
The videos are like a "little window or portal" into the agency, says Jacobson. "These are the people you're spending the majority of your time with in most cases. And diversity in all areas is really important because the more diverse talent and unique backgrounds you have helps create richer experiences for everyone."